How to make a glow ball from clear plastic cups & Christmas tree lights

Updated June 13, 2017

Home made Christmas decorations are quaint and add charm to your Christmas home. One home made decoration that continues to be a favourite among families is the glow ball. This festive holiday lighting can be created with common household items such as clothes hangers and plastic cups. Because children can also help with the project, it can be a fun way to spend quality time together. As you make the glow ball, your family may develop ideas of how to personalise your version of the Christmas glow ball.

Press a hole in the bottom of all 50 cups using the hot soldering iron.

Divide the cups in two groups of 25. Place the cups in a circle of 12 cups and pin them together with clothespins. This is only a temporary hold. Insert the hot soldering iron into the cups and poke a hole in the side toward the bottom of the cup. Poke a hole on the side near the tops of the cups. Let the hole cool a few seconds and give it a squeeze with your fingers. This melts the cups together and forms a bond.

Place nine cups on top of the first layer. Place the cups so they are in the grooves of the first layer of cups. There will be gaps between the cups. Melt each cup at the base to at least two other cups with the hot soldering iron.

Add four cups to the top of the second layer. Place the cups in the grooves. Melt each cup to at least two other cups at the base. Remove the clothespins from the first circle. Melt each cup together at the rim.

Plug in your Christmas lights to make sure they work. Insert the lights in the ball. Begin with the prong end of the cord. Insert the first two bulbs into a cup in on the first circle.

Continue around the half ball placing two bulbs in each cup. Travel up and down the ball as you go. Allow your cord to end up at the cup beside the one with which you started.

Build the second half of the ball following the same directions as the first half. Insert the lights beginning at the opposite end of the cord. Work the lights in a zigzag pattern and end on the first layer.

Pin the two glow ball halves together with clothespins. Melt each cup to at least two other cups. This is very important. Be careful not to melt the light cord.

Determine which part of the ball you want to be the top. Melt a hole in the cup that will be on top. Straighten a wire clothes hanger. Make a hook on each end. Insert one hook in the hole and hang the ball by the other hook.


Use multi-pattern flashing light strands to make your ball blink and flash.


Use caution when using a soldering iron around children. If your glow ball will be used outdoors, purchase outdoor light strands.

Things You'll Need

  • 250 ml (9 oz.) clear plastic cups, 50
  • Clothespins
  • Soldering iron
  • 100 multicolour miniature Christmas light strand
  • Wire clothes hanger
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About the Author

Jennifer Terry is program director for TriCounty Agency for Intellectual Disabilities. As a University of Alabama graduate, she holds a Masters in rehabilitation counseling and a Bachelor in psychology with an emphasis in child development. She also earned an Associate in business management and second Associate in computer information systems from Bevill State Community College. She holds a grant writing certificate from North Georgia College and State University.